Need to fix general practice following “systematic disinvestment”

Much more needs to be done to turn around general practice after a senior consultant at NHS Tayside warned of the impact of years of “systematic disinvestment”.

During Health Committee, Dr Eleanor Hothersall, of NHS Tayside, said becoming a GP is seen as "not a great job to have" and warned that issues in the sector are “one of the biggest public health problems".

We’ve been warned by the British Medical Association that a third of GPs are planning to retire from general practice within the next five years. Today we heard once again a senior health consultant warn of a GP recruitment crisis.

We’re seeing practices closing, patient lists expanding and an increasing number of elderly patients with complex health needs. There is therefore a very real danger that the GP crisis will get worse before it gets better.

All of this can be traced back to what has been rightly described as “systematic disinvestment” by the SNP Government. That is why the Scottish Government must do much more to alleviate the pressure on GP services.

It is time to bring an end to its underfunding of general practice and increase the number of staff, including introducing a mental health practitioner in every surgery to help treat more people successfully.

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